Welcome to the UVU Pre-Health Site


 Welcome to the Pre-Health website! We hope we can assist you on your way to becoming a professional. We encourage you to review the information on our website and watch the Pre-Health Orientation video prior to scheduling an appointment with our Pre-Health counselors.

 

Click here to view the Nursing Orientation.

 

**If you are interested in Dental Hygiene, Radiology Tech, or Respiratory Therapy contact the school(s) you would like to attend and then see a University Studies Counselor to map out your course sequencing.



We're currently updating the Pre-Health website content to provide accurate information. Thank you for your patience!

**Check out our new job posting for the Timpanogos Regional Hospital under News & Events > Internship, Volunteer & Patient Contact Opportunities.

 

(Click on the headings below for more information.)

Pre-Health Orientation

News & Events


     Announcements

Check out our new job posting for the Timpanogos Regional Hospital under Internship, Volunteer & Patient Contact Opportunities!

If you are interested in Dental Hygiene, Radiology Tech, or Respiratory Therapy contact the school(s) you would like to attend and then see a University Studies Counselor to map out your course sequencing.

     Upcoming Events

 TBA


     Internship, Volunteer & Patient Contact Opportunities

**Timpanogos Regional Hospital

Timpanogos Regional Hospital is now looking to hire scribes to work with their emergency medicine physicians on a part-time basis. This opportunity is second to none for pre-medical students and recent graduates working to improve their resumes for medical school. Many scribe programs see over 90% of its participants get accepted into an MD school, as it provides hands-on experience on the front lines of healthcare, multiple resources for letters of recommendation, and in-depth medical training. The scribe will primarily be assisting the physician with documentation, but will also be expected to check in on patients to assess their ongoing needs, notify the physician when lab and x-ray results have returned, and assist with work flow in the ER.

The position is expected to require at least a one year commitment at around 18hrs/week. The scribe will be compensated $10-12/hr. We are anticipating hirings in the next two weeks (approx. July 14 to July 25, 2014). Please send your resume to Dr. Justin Pearson at justinp79@gmail.com immediately to apply.

Patient Contact: Care To Stay Home

Apply online at: www.orem.caretostayhome.com. Questions? Call 801-901-8512. 

  • Licensed caregiving company currently hiring CNA's and experienced caregivers looking for part-time hours.
  • Day and evening shifts available
  • Immediate need for mature caregivers
  • Experience with Seniors with Alzheimer's a big plus
  • Personal Care, Laundry, Meal Prep, Light Housecleaning. Providing care for Seniors in their homes
  • Fingerprints/background check required

Patient Contact: Sunrise Home Health & Hospice

E-mail your resume to Larena at Larena@sunrisehhh.com or call 801-374-6553.

Employer is looking for responsible, motivated, and hard working individuals who love to care for those in need by providing CNA services. CNA's needed in Utah County Area. Work starts immediately! As a CNA, you will be providing home health care services to patients in the comfort of their homes. This includes helping prepare meals, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, and other daily living essentials. Very competitive pay rates. No experience required but recommended. CNA license needed. Flexible morning and evening schedules are available, some nights and/or weekends are required. Must be 18 to apply.

  • Travel time, mileage reimbursement
  • Must have reliable source of transportation
  • $10-$12 per hour
  • Bonuses for patient referrals

Volunteer: UVU Freshman Advocate

Let your experience help others! Freshman Advocates's are assigned two or more freshmen with whom they are expected to develop a supporting relationship. Through that relationship, FA's positively assist the freshman to succeed at the University level. As an Freshman Advocate, you will be the conduit to programs on campus, where the students can find expert help in overcoming obstacles to their education.

If you are interested in a Freshman Advocate position, please complete the application at: orgsync.com/52192/forms/62139. There is a limited number of Freshman Advocates accepted each semester, so please submit your application now.

Freshmen Advocate Requirements:

  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA for the last two semesters
  • Successfully earned a minimum of 24 credits
  • Have declared a major
  • Take SLSS 240R-006 (Leadership Mentoring Practicum) during Fall 2014 for continued support and training

Internship: Alzheimer's Association

Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. We are looking for interns that share this same passion. This position is open to all majors. Please send resume to Ronnie Daniel at rdaniel@alz.org.

Interns responsibilities:

  • Research Neurologists, Geriatricians, and Primary Care Physicians and update chapter database
  • Prepare materials for physician outreach
  • Facilitate physician education on Alzheimer's Association programs and services

Interns Requirements:

  • Upbeat and enthusiastic, well organized, self-motivated, team player, and eager to learn.

Volunteer: Hrdina Project (UVU Club)

Looking for long term volunteer opportunities to help build your resume for medical and dental school applications? We help teachers at Traverse Mountain Elementary by tutoring students, grading papers or whatever the teacher needs. 

We make it extremely convenient for you; simply pay your club dues ($5) at the club office (LC 101) and email us at hrdinaproject@gmail.com with your Name, Contact information and Weekly availability. We will contact the school and set up a time for you!

Hot Internships

www.uvu.edu/internships/findinternships/hotinternships

Volunteer: Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is preparing for its summer camp sessions for the year 2014. Each year children between the ages of 6-17 with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular diseases are given the opportunity to attend a week of MDA Summer Camp at Kamas, Utah. Please enjoy our 2013 camp video.

MDA is now recruiting volunteers for each session. The MDA Summer Camp will have two sessions held between August 9-August 14, 2014 and August 14- August 19, 2014 at the YMCA camp in Kamas, Utah.

To obtain a volunteer application or learn more about ways contact: Kuulei Amado, Pediatric Health Care Services Coordinator, Lamado@mdausa.org
801-278-6200.

Volunteer/Patient Contact: GIANT Steps Autism Preschool

GIANT Steps Autism Preschool is a treatment program through Wasatch Mental Health, which provides services for autistic children (ages 3-5) and their parents. Volunteers will care for autistic children on a weekly basis at Foothill Elementary School in Orem (921 N 1240 E). Volunteers have the chance to receive special training and experience in different autism treatment methods. Previous experience with autism is not required. 

  • Work with children at all levels of functioning in the autism spectrum
  • Help a child with an autism spectrum disorder reach his / her potential
  • Get special training and experience in autism treatment methods
  • Graduate/Medical/Dental schools like to see long-term commitments in volunteering, and this an ongoing program
  • It will provide the 2 hours per week for the 100 hours per year of volunteering for most medical schools, with an opportunity for more hours
  • Counts toward patient experience hours, if needed, instead of volunteer hours
  • Be in the autism classroom with trained professionals and learn about treatment methods, such as...
    • TEACH
    • discrete trial relationship interventions
    • KinderMusik
    • Greenspan's Floor Time
  • Participate in Giant Steps events such as date nights, auctions, balloon launches, carnivals, and benefit concerts

 

Minimum Volunteers Requirements:

  1. A minimum of 20 hours of volunteer time (total) with the Giant Steps program.
  2. A commitment to attend the first and third Tuesday night from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm for parent training, or
  3. A minimum 1 hour commitment each week Tuesday thru Friday from 9-3:30 pm. Keeping a regular schedule is important in caring for autistic children; it disturbs the children to have a change in schedule. Regular attendance to your committed day and time is absolutely required.
  4. Attend a mandatory training. The requirement of this will depend on if you are a Tuesday night or daytime volunteer.
  5. Fill out a volunteer time sheet each time you volunteer. Wasatch Mental Health needs a record of the hours you volunteer. The volunteer supervisor is happy to write a letter of recommendation if she sees you can commit over the long term with regular hours.

If you are interested in volunteering, send a message to volunteergiantsteps@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, preferred email address, and your answers to the following questions.

  1. Why do you want to volunteer with Giant Steps?
  2. Explain your commitment to the requirements listed above. Be specific and include the day and time slot you would like each week.

**GIANT Steps currently needs volunteers on the first and third Tuesday nights from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm and volunteers on Tuesday-Friday from 9 am–3:30 pm (a 1 hour weekly time commitment) .

     For Your Information

Get Involved: Join a Club, Pay Your Dues

UVU has several excellent clubs on campus especially for pre-health students: Pharmacy Club, Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club, Pre-Dental Club, Pre-Medical Club, Pre-Optometry Club, Pre-Physical Therapy Club, Pre-Physicians Assistant Club, etc. 

To join a club, go to: uvu.orgsync.com/org/clubs. To pay your club dues, visit the Clubs Office (LC 101A) OR pay online.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PAYING DUES ONLINE:

  1. Login to your UV Link (uvlink.uvu.edu)
  2. Click 'Student' tab
  3. Click 'Student Services and Resources' tab
  4. Click 'Pay Club Dues'
  5. Select your preferred Pre-health Club
  6. Enter payment info
  7. Submit!

Professions

     Nursing


     Pre-Medical

What is it?

Admission to medical school is a highly competitive process. Approximately half or more of the students who apply to medical school each year do not get accepted because of enrollment space. Students who want to pursue a medical degree thoroughly prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during the pre-medical years.

Check out what medical schools say about how you can be a apply to their school:

Prerequisite Courses

NOTE: Medical schools determine their own individual requirements. Follow the link below for a general guide of required courses. In addition, you should refer to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) book, the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, and your individual school's website to determine the specific requirements for that institution.

IMPORTANT! There are significant changes coming to the Pre-medical prerequisite coursework over the next few years. Stay in touch with your Pre-Health Counselor to keep update on these changes and to find out if they will affect you.

GPA

GPA is a vital part of your application to medical school. The average GPA for accepted applicants is about a 3.6. Medical schools will consider your science, non-science and cumulative GPA as well as the trend of grades.

NOTE: All grades received for college credit will be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA will not be an accurate calculation for medical schools.Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation.

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • D.O. medical schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM and will only use the most recent grade if a course has been retaken.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA

Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardized examination required as part of your application to medical school. It is a very challenging exam that requires extensive preparation in the form of review and practice. Your preparation for the MCAT will actually begin with the first day of your first premed prerequisite course.

The current MCAT will be administered through January 2015 and consists of the following 4 sections:

  1. Physical Sciences (General Chemistry and Physics)
  2. Biological Sciences (Biology and Organic Chemistry)
  3. Verbal Reasoning
  4. Trial Section

The first 3 sections (PS, BS, and VR) are scored from 1 through 15. The average score for accepted students is a 10 in each section. The minimum score you should have in order to be considered by most medical schools is a 7 in each section.

The Trial Section consists of 32 new questions being tested for the new MCAT in either: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics or in psychology, sociology and biology. If you volunteer to participate, you will receive the following if you put forth a good-faith effort: $30 Amazon.com Gift Card Claim Code (e-mailed to you within 3-4 weeks) and feedback on your performance that will allow you to compare yourself to others who participated in the Trial Section. For more information, visit www.aamc.org.

After January 2015, only the new MCAT 2015 exam will be administered. The exam will consist of the following 4 sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

More information about MCAT 2015 can be found at www.aamc.org/mcat2015

It is recommended that you take the exam in the spring of the year of application so scores can be available for early application to medical school.

You should begin studying for the MCAT at least 6 months prior to taking the test. Consider your study time to be equivalent to the time commitment of a 3-4 credit hour class. Some students choose to study on their own or with other students who are also preparing to take the exam. For students who choose to study on their own, there are various books designed to help guide you through the preparation process. Exam Krackers is just one series that has been recommended by UVU students. There are also books published by Kaplan and Princeton Review to name a few. These books can be purchased online or at various bookstores. You can also purchase previously administered tests to use as practice tools. Go to the MCAT website for additional information on purchasing practice exams.

Other students choose to take a prep course. There are several private companies that offer MCAT prep courses, each with their own individual promises. These courses may range in price from $800-$2000. UVU does not recommend one company over another. Visit the companies' websites listed below and talk to fellow classmates before choosing a prep course.

Local Programs

Medical schools vary in their admissions requirements, it is highly recommended that students choose 5-10 medical schools they would be most interested in attending and make note of those school's admission requirements.

Students should be familiar with both allopathic and osteopathic medicine. There is a good chance that you will apply to both and that you will work with physicians from both backgrounds.

Extracurricular Activities

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into medical school. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing medicine and dedication to serving the community.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to medical programs are 75-100 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

NOTE: Because the demand is so high, many clinics are restricting students who can shadow their physicians. Some clinics and organizations are now requiring that students go through a shadowing program at their university. 

UVU has arranged a shadowing program with Central Utah Clinic and IHC. These organizations assist students accepted into the program to set up shadowing opportunities with physicians. Students will receive 9-12 hours of shadowing with 1-2 different physicians. On average, pre-medical students will want to have 40 hours with at least 3 different physicians. The Pre-Health Office manages a shadowing program to help you get connected with physicians. Email prehealth@uvu.edu for more information. There are limited spaces available so apply early.

Program Requirements

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Completion of at least 60 semester hours
  • Completion of BIOL 1610/1615 and CHEM 1210/1215 with a grade of C or better
  • Immunizations: 2 MMR, 2 Varicella or proof of immunity (include the year you had chicken pox for proof), 1 TB Tests within the last year, Hepatitis B 3 shot series

Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research—you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research is essential for medical school (especially MD).

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendations for pre-medical healthcare experience is 100 hours of patient contact in at least two different settings.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some dos and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  • Who are the most influential people in your life?
  • What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  • Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. You can also go to www.accepted.com/medical/sampleessays.aspx for more examples.

If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

Pre-Med Letter Service

UVU uses an electronic service for gathering letters of recommendation called veCollect. This service will allow you to track your letters through the veCollect website. Additional information is below. It is highly recommended that you submit 6-7 letters of recommendation. Check with the individual schools where you are applying to determine which letters you need:

  • 2 science professors (No lab instructors)
  • 1 non-science or science professor
  • 1 supervisor from medical experience and/or physician shadowing
  • 1 supervisor from volunteer experience (Required for University of Utah)
  • 1 supervisor from research experience (Required for University of Utah)
  • 1 additional of your choosing (optional)
  • If you are applying to Osteopathic Medical Schools, you should also have the following letters:
  • 1 DO Physician you have shadowed or worked with (Required)
  • Pre-Health Advisor (Recommended)

UVU Letter Service Process

Note: Please include the Letter Request Form when you request your letters of recommendation. All letters must be on letterhead and signed whether they are submitted by mail or electronically.

  1. Go to: collect.virtualevals.net and register for veCollect access. Find UVU and set up your account.
  2. We will manually activate your account once you have paid and attended a veCollect workshop.
    • You can pay by cash, check, or credit card at LC 402 or you can pay over the phone at: 801-863-6484.
    • The fee for Pre-Medical Letters is $20.
  3. Once your account is activated, you will receive notification email.
  4. Add evaluator and letter records for each person for whom you are requesting a letter.
  5. Track the status of your letters through veCollect and follow up with letter writers.
  6. Once your file is complete, you will receive an email instructing you to create and lock your quiver.
  7. Letters are transmitted to AMCAS and DO Medical Schools electronically by the Pre-Health Office.

How to Submit your Letters

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University – MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

What if I did not do well in some of my early semesters? Can I still go to medical school?

Yes, you may still be able to go because your admission will be based on your cumulative GPA as well as the trend of grades.


Do I have to transfer to a different university if I want to go to medical school?

Yes, once accepted you will have to transfer to a medical school. UVU offers Bachelor programs in preparation for Medical Profession.


Why should I do premed at UVU?

You should consider doing premed at UVU because we offer: an accredited program that can transfer to any school, devoted counselors committed to help you succeed, clubs, workshops, and orientations that provide you with additional tools needed upon entering the medical field.


What is the difference between MD and DO schools?

The traditional medical degree, the MD, requires training in allopathic medicine. Osteopathic medical schools award the DO degree, which is the holistic perspective on practice of medicine based on a belief in treating the "whole patient" (mind-body-spirit) and the primacy of the musculoskeletal system in human health and the utility of osteopathic manipulative treatment.


How do I apply to medical school?

Medical schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, and complete the personal statements that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools. There is a separate application for allopathic schools and osteopathic schools.


Where can I apply for medical school?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. The average student applies to 10-20 schools; usually a mix of allopathic and osteopathic schools. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

Pre-Med Self-Assessment

What is a good club to join?

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement – Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in – Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation – What others see in you
  • Interviews – Confirm who you are

     Pre-Dental

Quick Links:

Choosing a Dental School?

Dental programs vary in their admissions requirements, program delivery, missions, and quality. It is important to research Dental schools to determine which schools fit your interests and needs most. Most students apply to an average of 14-20 Dental schools.

Prerequisite Courses

Note: The prerequisites listed here are a general guideline of common courses required by Dental schools or will help you prepare for the DAT. Dental programs determine their own individual requirements. It is your responsibility to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. If you have questions, always contact each individual program.

Your Pre-Health counselor will help you plan your prerequisite courses, ensuring a doable sequence and proper timeline. It is recommended you prioritize the registration of prerequisite courses over major and general education requirements as you may often finish some requirements during the application process.

Required by most dental schools with a grade of C or better (generally avoid online pre-req. options):

  • Intro to Writing: ENGL 1010
  • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2010 or 2020
  • College Biology I and II with labs: BIOL 1610/1615 and 1620/1625
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 2310/2315 and 2320/2325
  • College Physics I and II with labs: PHYS 2010/2015 and 2020/2025
  • Biochemistry: Biology 3600 (for the DAT)
  • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2420/2425 (strongly recommended)
  • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2320/2325 (Strongly recommended)

In addition, many schools require the following courses:

  • General Psychology: PSY 1010
  • Cell Biology: BIOL 3400 (strongly recommended)
  • Microbiology: MICRO 2060/2065 or MICR 3450/3455
  • Genetics, immunology, or upper division biology
  • Trigonometry : MATH 1060 (for the DAT)

GPA

NOTE : All grades received for college credit will be calculated into your GPA, even if you have retaken courses. If you have taken any courses at a different school or if you have retaken courses, your UVU GPA will not likely reflect the accurate GPA calculation for Dental schools. Check with each individual school regarding their policy on retakes. GPA is a vital part of your application to Dental school. Dental will consider your science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA as well as the trend of grades. Some schools will evaluate your 2-3 most recent years more heavily than your first 1-2 years.

  • Minimum GPA considered: 3.0
  • Average accepted GPA: 3.5

GUIDELINES:

    • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
    • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
    • Dental schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM.
    • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
    • Physics courses include ASTR.
    • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
    • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

DAT (Dental Admission Test)

The DAT is a standardized examination required as part of your application to dental school. It is a very challenging exam that requires extensive preparation in the form of review and practice. In fact, your preparation for the DAT will begin with the first day of your first pre-dental prerequisite course.

The DAT contains 4 timed sections that lead to a total of 8 scores in the categories below, with each section scored from 1 to 30:

      • Biology
      • General Chemistry
      • Organic Chemistry
      • Quantitative Reasoning (basic math, geometry, algebra, and trigonometry)
      • Reading Comprehension
      • Total Science (an average of biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry scores)
      • Academic Average (an average of quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry scores)
      • Perceptual Ability

More information on the DAT can be obtained online at www.ada.org. Average accepted DAT Score in each section: 20 out of 30. The average score for accepted students is a 19-20 in each section. The minimum score you should have in order to be considered by dental schools is a 17 in each section.

STUDYING FOR THE DAT

You should begin studying for the DAT at least 6 months prior to taking the test. Consider your study time to be equivalent to the time commitment of a 3-4 credit hour class. Some students choose to study on their own or with other students who are also preparing to take the exam. For students who choose to study on their own, there are various books designed to help guide you through the preparation process. Books have been published by Kaplan and Princeton Review to name a few. These books can be purchased online or at various bookstores.

Other students choose to take a prep course. There are several private companies that offer DAT prep courses, each with their own individual promises. These courses may be as much as $1500. UVU does not recommend one company over another. Visit the companies' websites listed below and talk to fellow classmates before choosing a prep course.

The Dental Application

Nearly all Dental programs use the Dental school centralized application service (AADSAS). AADSAS allows you to apply to several schools without filling out multiple applications. AADSAS opens around June 1 and runs for nearly one year per admissions cycle.

Plan to apply to Dental school as soon as pre-requisites are completed (or almost completed), starting in June. Early application is vital to being considered competitively. Generally, students will have one year to complete additional requirements and bachelor's degree after they have started the application.

Extracurricular Activities

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into vet school. GPA and GRE scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing a dental degree and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for dental school is NOT about checking off boxes. Dental schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Extra-curricular activities help Dental schools evaluate your potential as a clinician and professional. They can help you stand out as an applicant and demonstrate your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare. Consider planning out your extra-curricular activities by semester, just like your pre-requisite courses. Starting early helps avoid the stress associated with cramming everything into the last few semesters prior to the application.

Minimum Recommended Extra-curricular Activities

  • Dental Experience: 50-100 hours shadowing or other dental related experience
  • Volunteer Service: 45 hours during each of the pre-dental years including the year of application
  • Leadership: 3 different leadership positions during the pre-dental years
  • Research: 45 hours during the pre-dental years. Research is not required, but is highly recommended and should be hypothesis-based in any subject
  • Healthcare Experience: 50-100 hours of shadowing/experience

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to dental programs are 45-60 hours .

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website volunteers.utah.gov maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to dental programs are 50-100 hours of shadowing/experience, at least 25 hours should be spent with a general dentist.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research is very strongly recommended for dental school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment) . Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for pre-dental healthcare experience is 50-100 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

    • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
    • DO make it interesting and compelling.
    • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
    • DO be honest and sincere.
    • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
    • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
    • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
    • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

    • Who are the most influential people in your life?
    • What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
    • Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Pre-Dental Letter Service

UVU uses an electronic service for gathering letters of recommendation called veCollect. This service will allow you to track your letters through the veCollect website. Additional information is below. It is highly recommended that you submit 4 letters of recommendation. Check with the individual schools where you are applying to determine which letters you need:

    • 2 science professors
    • 1 dentist you have shadowed or worked with
    • 1 additional of your choosing (professor, dentist, research or service supervisor, employer, etc.)

UVU Letter Service Process

Note: Please include the Letter Request Form when you request your letters of recommendation. All letters must be on letterhead and signed whether they are submitted by mail or electronically.

  1. Go to: collect.virtualevals.net and register for veCollect access. Find UVU and set up your account.
  2. We will manually activate your account once you have paid and attended a veCollect workshop with a counselor.
    • You can pay by cash, check, or credit card at LC 402 or you can pay over the phone at: 801-863-6484.
    • The fee for Pre-Dental Letters is $15.
  3. Once your account is activated, you will receive notification email.
  4. Add evaluator and letter records for each person for whom you are requesting a letter.
  5. Track the status of your letters through veCollect and follow up with letter writers.
  6. Once your file is complete, you will receive an email instructing you to create and lock your quiver.
  7. Letters are transmitted to AADSAS electronically by the Pre-Health Office.
    • Be sure to indicate on AADSAS that you are receiving an electronic, committee letter.
    • Use Douglas Watson as the sender.
    • Use prehealth@uvu.edu as the email address.

How to Submit your Letters

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University ñ MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

  • What if I my grades are poor from some of my earlier semesters?
  • Can I still go to Dental school?
  • I have done a lot of volunteer and leadership with my church, but that doesn't count, does it?
  • What should I major in?
  • How much money will I make as a Dentist?
  • What is the job market like for Dentists?

Who is my counselor if I want to be a Dental Hygienist?

If you are interested in Dental Hygiene contact the school(s) you would like to attend and then see an Academic Counseling Center Advisor to map out your course sequencing. Your advisor is not the Pre-Dental advisor.

How can I be Competitive for Dental School?

Admission to Dental school is a highly competitive process. It is vitally important that Pre-Dental students prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during their undergraduate years.

Applicants are evaluated on a holistic level, with consideration on GPA, DAT scores, Dental shadowing, volunteer, research, and leadership experiences.

Work closely with your Pre-Health counselor who can assist you with:

  • Pre-requisite academic planning
  • Extra-curricular considerations (i.e. shadowing, dental experience, volunteering, etc.)
  • AADSAS and the application process
  • DAT planning
  • Writing personal statements
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Mock interviews

What kind of degree do I need to apply for Dental School?

At least 90 completed semester hours are required before matriculation into dental school; however, more than 90% of all first year dental students have completed a bachelor's degree. Because of this, it is recommended that all pre-dental students plan on completing a bachelor's degree.

Although many pre-dental students select biology as a major, dental schools do not consider one major as better than another. Your major should be chosen based on your interests and strengths and can be in any discipline, science or non-science. It is important to select a major that suits you. Keep in mind that you may use your undergraduate degree to fall back on if you are not accepted into dental school or if you choose to pursue alternate options.


How do I assess myself?

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Most students apply to 10-14 schools. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements 

How do I apply?

Dental schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools.


What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Pharmacy

Pharmacy Schools

Pharmacy programs vary in their admissions requirements, program delivery, missions, and quality. It is important to research Pharmacy schools to determine which schools fit your interests and needs most. Most students apply to an average of 5 Pharmacy programs.

How Can I be Competitive for Pharmacy School?

Admission to Pharmacy school is a highly competitive process. It is vitally important that Pre-Pharmacy students prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during their undergraduate years.

Applicants are evaluated on a holistic level, with consideration on GPA, PCAT scores, Pharmacy shadowing/experience, patient contact, and volunteer and leadership experiences.

Work closely with your Pre-Health counselor who can assist you with:

  • Prerequisite academic planning
  • Extra-curricular considerations (i.e. shadowing, pharmacy experience, volunteering, etc.)
  • PHARMCAS and the application process
  • PCAT planning
  • Writing personal statements
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Mock interviews

Choosing Pharmacy School

Choosing the right Pharmacy school for you takes significant research. Plan to apply to at least 5 schools, more if you do not feel you are as competitive as you would like to be.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pharmacy school

  • Placement of students in hospital residencies**
  • Admissions criteria
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Quality and reputation
  • Mission, philosophy, values
  • Curriculum and program delivery
  • Internship/externships
  • Specialties
  • Research interests
  • Career resources and job placement
  • Licensure test scores
  • Facilities
  • Faculty

**A career working as a hospital pharmacist requires a residency as part of your training. Some schools are more challenging than others to secure residencies in hospitals.

Information on Pharmacy Programs

Pharmacy Centralized Application Service (PHARMCAS)

Approximately 75%+ of all Pharmacy programs use the Pharmacy centralized application service (PHARMCAS). PHARMCAS allows you to apply to several schools without filling out multiple applications. PHARMCAS usually opens early June and runs for nearly one year per admissions cycle.

Plan to apply to Pharmacy school as soon as prerequisites are completed (or almost completed), starting in June. Generally students will have one year to complete additional requirements after they have started the application.

PHARMCAS usually opens early June and applicants will typically apply one year prior to admission. The PHARMCAS application is subject to small changes each year, but generally you should plan to include:

  • Letters of recommendation (up to 4)
  • Official transcripts from every college/university attended
  • Personal statement—approximately 4500 characters
  • Summaries of extra-curricular experiences

Prerequisite Courses

Note: Pharmacy programs determine their own individual requirements. It is important for you to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to.
Your Pre-Health counselor will help you plan your prerequisite courses, ensuring a doable sequence and proper timeline. It is recommended you prioritize the registration of prerequisite courses over major and general education requirements as you may often finish some requirements during the application process.

Note: The prerequisites listed here are a general guideline of common courses required by Pharmacy programs or will help you prepare for the PCAT. It is your responsibility to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. If you have questions, always contact each individual program.

Required by Pharmacy programs in Utah with a grade of C or better (generally avoid online pre-req. options):

  • Intro to Writing: ENGL 1010
  • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2020 (Grade of B or better is required. 2010 is not acceptable for the University of Utah)
  • Public Speaking: COMM 1020 (Required by USN with a grade of B or better)
  • College Biology I with lab: BIOL 1610/1615 (recommended) or General Biology with lab: BIOL 1010/1015
  • Human Anatomy: ZOOL 2320/2325
  • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2420/2425
  • Microbiology for Health Professions: MICR 2060/2065
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 2310/2315 and 2320/2325
  • Physics I with lab: PHYS 2010/2015 or PHYS 2210/2215
  • Physics II with lab: PHYS 2020/2025 or 2220/2225 (Required by University of Utah)
  • Calculus I: MATH 1210
  • Calculus II: MATH 1220 (Required by University of Utah)
  • Additional General Education requirements for University of Utah may be fulfilled by completing an AS or AA degree.

In addition, some schools outside of Utah may require the following courses:

  • College Biology II with lab: BIOL 1620/1625
  • Principles of Statistics: MATH 2040
  • General Psychology: PSY 1010
  • Economics: ECON 2010 or 2020 (strongly recommended)
  • Abnormal Psychology: PSY 3400
  • Developmental Psychology (Child, Adolescent, Adult, Human)

GPA

NOTE : All grades received for college credit will likely be calculated into your GPA, even if you have retaken courses. If you have taken any courses at a different school or if you have retaken courses, your UVU GPA will not likely reflect the accurate GPA calculation for Pharmacy schools. Check with each individual school regarding their policy on retakes.
GPA is a vital part of your application to Pharmacy school. Pharmacy will consider your science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA.
Minimum GPA considered: 3.2

GPA is a vital part of your application to pharmaceutical school. All grades received for college credit may be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA may not be an accurate calculation for vet schools.

You can calculate your science GPA by downloading the GPA calculator through the following link. Although the calculator is specific to MD medical schools, it is still a useful tool for other health professions programs. Most programs will calculate your GPA in a similar way - science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation.

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • PharmCAS calculates MATH as a GPA separate from science and non-science
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

The PCAT is a standardized examination required as part of your application to pharmacy school. It is a very challenging exam that requires extensive preparation in the form of review and practice. The PCAT is administered by Pearson Assessment, Inc. with specific information on the exam available at www.pcatweb.info. The test is offered 4 times each year. The latest test you should take in order to be considered for a specific year is the October test of the year prior to the Pharmacy schools start date. The January test will not be considered for the year of application. You should visit this site periodically to stay informed on updates and general information on the exam.

The PCAT is administered in January, July, and September via a computer-based format on a first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the PCAT by the recommended "register and schedule by" dates suggested by Pearson to receive your preferred testing date, time, and location.

The PCAT consists of the following subtests:

  • Verbal Ability
  • Biology
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Ability
  • Chemistry
  • 2 Written Essays

Your scores will receive a scaled (numerical) score and a percentile score for each of the individual multiple-choice subtests as well as a composite score. The scaled scores for the multiple-choice subtests range from 200 to 600, with a mean of 400. You will also receive a separate score for the written essays, which ranges from 1 (weak) to 5 (superior). The average accepted PCAT Composite Score: 66%.

You should begin studying for the PCAT at least 6 months prior to taking the test. Consider your study time to be equivalent to the time commitment of a 3-4 credit hour class. Some students choose to study on their own or with other students who are also preparing to take the exam. For students who choose to study on their own, there are various books designed to help guide you through the preparation process. Books have been published by Kaplan and Princeton Review to name a few. These books can be purchased online or at various bookstores.
Other students choose to take a prep course. Kaplan, a private company, offers a PCAT prep course in Utah County. These courses may be as much as $1200 or more. Visit the company's website listed below and talk to fellow classmates before choosing a prep course.

Break-down of Science & Math on the PCAT

Biology

  • General Biology (60%)
  • Microbiology (20%)
  • Anatomy & Physiology (20%)

Chemistry

  • General Chemistry (60%)
  • Organic Chemistry (40%)

Quantitative Ability

  • Basic Math (15%)
  • Algebra (20%)
  • Probability & Statistics (20%)
  • Pre-Calculus (22%)
  • Calculus (22%)

Studying for the PCAT

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific PCAT preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately.

The PCAT is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Successful test takers will generally complete most of their Pharmacy pre-requisite courses before taking the PCAT. Your Pre-Health counselor will assist you in planning out your pre-requisite courses and how they correspond to the date you will select to take the PCAT. Plan to study for the PCAT for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Extracurricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities help Pharmacy programs evaluate your potential as a clinician and professional. They can help you stand out as an applicant and demonstrate your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare.

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into pharmaceutical school. GPA and GRE scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing a pharmaceutical degree and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for pharmaceutical school is NOT about checking off boxes. pharmaceutical schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to pharmaceutical programs are 45 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to pharmaceutical programs are 60 hours of shadowing/experience; consider at least 10 hours in a hospital setting.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research gives you a competitive edge for pharmaceutical school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for pre-pharmacy healthcare experience is 50 hours of patient contact; experience as a pharmacy tech is also helpful.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

Suggested Guidelines

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

  1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

How to Have Your Letters Submitted

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University ñ MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

  • What if I my grades are poor from some of my earlier semesters? Can I still go to Pharmacy school?
  • I have done a lot of volunteer and leadership with my church, but that doesn't count, does it?
  • What should I major in?
  • How do I apply to schools that do not use PHARMCAS?
  • How much money will I make as a Pharmacist?
  • What is the job market like for Pharmacists?

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

Many Pharmacy schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools. For schools that do not use the central application, check the individual school's website for information on how to apply to their school.

Click here to view the Application Workshop presentation.

What clubs can I join?

What kind of degree do I need to apply for Pharmacy school?

Many students successfully apply and are admitted to Pharmacy school without completing a bachelor's degree. Most schools will require a minimum of 60-90 credit hours or an Associate's degree. Some schools will weigh an application more heavily or may even waive PCAT requirements if a candidate has completed a bachelor's degree.

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Physical Therapy

How can I be competitive for Physical Therapy school?

Admission to Physical Therapy school is a highly competitive process. It is vitally important that Pre-Physical Therapy students prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during their undergraduate years.

Applicants are evaluated on a holistic level, with consideration on GPA, GRE scores, Physical Therapy shadowing/experience, research, and volunteer and leadership experiences.

Work closely with your Pre-Health counselor who can assist you with:

  • Prerequisite academic planning
  • Extra-curricular considerations (i.e. shadowing, pharmacy experience, volunteering, etc.)
  • PTCAS and the application process
  • GRE planning
  • Writing personal statements
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Mock interviews

Choosing a PT school

PT programs vary in their admissions requirements, program delivery, missions, and quality. It is important to research Physical Therapy schools to determine which schools fit your interests and needs most. Most students apply to an average of 4-5 Physical Therapy programs.

Choosing the right PT school for you takes significant research. Plan to apply to at least 4-5 schools, more if you do not feel you are as competitive as you would like to be.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Physical Therapy School

  • Admissions criteria
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Quality and reputation
  • Mission, philosophy, values
  • Curriculum and program delivery
  • Internship/externships
  • Specialties
  • Research interests
  • Career resources and job placement
  • Licensure test scores
  • Facilities
  • Faculty

Information on Physical Therapy Programs:

Physical Therapy Application (PTCAS)

Approximately 62%+ of all Physical Therapy programs use the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). PTCAS allows you to apply to several schools without filling out multiple applications. PTCAS usually opens early July and runs for nearly one year per admissions cycle. Follow the application instructions required by each school you plan to apply to.

Plan to apply to Physical Therapy school as soon as prerequisites are completed (or almost completed), starting in July). Ideally, students will apply to PT programs approximately one year prior to graduation.

PTCAS usually opens early July and applicants will typically apply one year prior to admission. The PTCAS application is subject to small changes each year, but generally you should plan to include:

  • Letters of recommendation (up to 4)
  • Official transcripts from every college/university attended
  • Personal statement—approximately 4500 characters
  • Verification of PT experience (from a licensed Physical Therapist)
  • Summaries of extra-curricular experiences

Prerequisite Courses

Note: Physical Therapy programs determine their own individual requirements. It is important for you to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to.

Your Pre-Health counselor will help you plan your prerequisite courses, ensuring a doable sequence and proper timeline. It is recommended you prioritize the registration of prerequisite courses over major and general education requirements as you may often finish some requirements during the application process.

Note: The prerequisites listed here are a general guideline of common courses required by Physical Therapy programs. It is your responsibility to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. If you have questions, always contact each individual program.

Required by most Physical Therapy programs with a grade of C or better (generally avoid online pre-req. options):

  • College Biology I with lab: BIOL 1610/1615 (recommended)
  • Human Anatomy with lab: ZOOL 2320/2325
  • Human Physiology with lab: ZOOL 2420/2425
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Physics I and II with lab: PHYS 2010/2015 and 2020/2025
  • General Psychology: PSY 1010
  • Abnormal Psychology: PSY 3400
  • Principles of Statistics: MATH 2040
  • First Aid: HLTH 1200 or Advanced First Aid Certification (Must be current when applying)

In addition, some schools require the following courses:

  • Human Development and Life Span: PSY 1100
  • Medical Terminology I: HLTH 1300
  • Public Speaking: COMM 1020
  • Trigonometry: MATH 1060 or Calculus I: MATH 1210 (Required by University of Utah)

GPA

GPA is a vital part of your application to physical therapy school. All grades received for college credit may be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA may not be an accurate calculation for vet schools.

You can calculate your science GPA by downloading the GPA calculator through the following link. Although the calculator is specific to MD medical schools, it is still a useful tool for other health professions programs. Most programs will calculate your GPA in a similar way - science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation. 

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

GRE

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

The GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011 and is administered via a computer-based format on a year-round, first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the GRE early and take it at least 6 weeks prior to your earliest application deadline.

The GRE revised General Test measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Studying for the GRE

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Free Study Materials:

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities help Physical Therapy programs evaluate your potential as a clinician and professional. They can help you stand out as an applicant and demonstrate your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare.

Consider planning out your extra-curricular activities by semester, just like your prerequisite courses. Starting early helps avoid the stress associated with cramming everything into the last few semesters prior to the application.

Minimum Recommended Extra-curricular Activities

  • PT Experience: 150 hours of PT experience in at least 2 different settings. Some schools ask for 1000 hours
  • Volunteer Service: 45 hours during each of the pre-PT years including the year of application
  • Leadership: 2 different leadership positions during the pre-PT years
  • Research (strongly recommended): 50 hours. Must be hypothesis-based

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into pharmaceutical school. GPA and GRE scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing a pharmaceutical degree and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for pharmaceutical school is NOT about checking off boxes. pharmaceutical schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to physical therapy programs is 45 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to physical therapy programs is 150 hours shadowing/experience in at least 2 different settings; some schools ask for as many as 1000 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research is strongly recommended for physical therapy school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for physical therapy healthcare experience is 150-1,000 hours shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

Suggested Guidelines

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

  1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

How to Have Your Letters Submitted

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University ñ MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

  • What if I my grades are poor from some of my earlier semesters? Can I still go to PT school?
  • I have done a lot of volunteer and leadership with my church, but that doesn't count, does it?
  • What should I major in?
  • How do I apply to schools that do not use PTCAS?
  • How much money will I make as a Physical Therapist?
  • What is the job market like for Physical Therapists?

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

Many PT schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools. For schools that do not use the central application, check the individual school's website for information on how to apply to their school.


What clubs can I join?

Pre-Physical Therapy Club

To join the Pre-Physical Therapy Club: 

  1. Sign up at Orgsync.com
  2. Search for Pre-PT Club
  3. Click "submit request"
  4. Pay the one-time fee

(See the UVU Clubs office if you have further questions.)


What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Occupational Therapy

How can I be competitive for Occupational Therapy school?

Admission to Occupational Therapy school is a competitive process. It is vitally important that Pre-Occupational Therapy students prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during their undergraduate years. Applicants are evaluated on a holistic level, with consideration on GPA, GRE scores, Occupational Therapy shadowing/experience, and volunteer and leadership experiences.

Work closely with your Pre-Health counselor who can assist you with:

  • Prerequisite academic planning
  • Extra-curricular considerations (i.e. shadowing, Occupational Therapy experience, volunteering, etc.)
  • OTCAS and the application process
  • GRE planning
  • Writing personal statements
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Mock interviews

Choosing the right OT school for you takes significant research.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Occupational Therapy School

  • Degrees awarded (i.e. combination BS/MOT; MS; OTD, etc.)
  • Admissions criteria
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Quality and reputation
  • Mission, philosophy, values
  • Curriculum and program delivery
  • Internship/externships
  • Specialties
  • Research interests
  • Career resources and job placement
  • Licensure test scores
  • Facilities
  • Faculty

Pre-Requisite Courses

Your Pre-Health counselor will help you plan your pre-requisite courses, ensuring a doable sequence and proper timeline. It is recommended you prioritize the registration of prerequisite courses over major and general education requirements as you may often finish some requirements during the application process.

Note: The prerequisites listed here are a general guideline of common courses required by Occupational Therapy programs. Occupational Therapy programs determine their own individual requirements. It is important for you to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. It is your responsibility to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. If you have questions, always contact each individual program.

Required by most Occupational Therapy programs with a grade of C or better (generally avoid online pre-req. options):

  • Introduction to Writing: ENGL 1010
  • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2010/20
  • General Biology: BIOL 1010 (Many schools prefer Biol 1610/1615)
  • General Chemistry/lab (Chem 1210/1215) (Some schools don't require chemistry but it is also needed as a prerequisite to Physiology.)
  • Physics 1010 (Some schools require Phys 2010/2015)
  • Human Anatomy: ZOOL 2320/2325
  • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2420/2425
  • General Psychology: PSY 1010
  • Human Development Life Span: PSY 1100
  • Abnormal Psychology: PSY 3400
  • Introduction to Sociology and/or Cultural Anthropology: SOC 1010 and/or ANTH 101G
  • Principles of Statistics or Stats for Behavioral Sciences: MATH 2040 or BESC 3010

In addition, some schools require the following courses:

  • First Aid: HLTH 1200 or Advanced First Aid Certification
  • Medical Terminology I: HLTH 1300
  • Public Speaking: COMM 1020
  • Technical Writing: ENGL 3300 or ENGL 4310
  • Studio Arts Course

To see what your program requires see:

GPA

NOTE: GPA is a vital part of your application to Occupational Therapy programs. OT programs will consider your science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. All grades received for college credit will likely be calculated into your GPA, even if you have retaken courses. If you have taken any courses at a different school or if you have retaken courses, your UVU GPA will not likely reflect the accurate GPA calculation for OT schools.

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

GRE

The GRE revised General Test is a standardized examination required by many OT programs as part of your application. Research your schools of interest to determine if you need to take the GRE.

The GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011 and is administered via a computer-based format on a year-round, first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the GRE early and take it at least 6 weeks prior to your earliest application deadline.

The GRE revised General Test measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Studying for the GRE

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Free Study Materials:

Occupational Therapy Schools

OT programs vary in their admissions requirements, program delivery, degrees awarded, missions, and quality. It is important to research Occupational Therapy schools to determine which schools fit your interests and needs most.

Information on Occupational Therapy Programs:

Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS)

Many Occupational Therapy programs use the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). OTCAS allows you to apply to several schools without filling out multiple applications. OTCAS usually opens early July and runs for nearly one year per admissions cycle. Follow the application instructions required by each school you plan to apply to.

Plan to apply to Occupational Therapy school as soon as prerequisites are completed (or almost completed), starting in July. Ideally, students will apply to OT programs approximately one year prior to graduation.

OTCAS usually opens early July and applicants will typically apply one year prior to admission. The OTCAS application is subject to small changes each year, but generally you should plan to include:

  • Letters of recommendation (up to 3)
  • Official transcripts from every college/university attended
  • Personal statement, approximately 4500 characters
  • Summaries of extra-curricular experiences

Extracurricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities help Occupational Therapy programs evaluate your potential as a clinician and professional. They can help you stand out as an applicant and demonstrate your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare.

Consider planning out your extra-curricular activities by semester, just like your pre-requisite courses. Starting early helps avoid the stress associated with cramming everything into the last few semesters prior to the application.

Minimum Recommended Extra-curricular Activities

  • OT Experience: 50-75 hours in at least 2 different settings
  • Volunteer Service: 45 hours during each of the pre-OT years including the year of application
  • Leadership: 2 different leadership positions during the pre-OT years

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to occupational therapy programs are 45 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to occupational therapy programs are 50-75 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research gives you a competitive advantage for occupational therapy programs.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for pre-occupational therapy healthcare experience is 50-75 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

REQUESTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

  1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

How to Have Your Letters Submitted

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University ñ MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

  • What if I my grades are poor from some of my earlier semesters? Can I still go to OT school?
  • I have done a lot of volunteer and leadership with my church, but that doesn't count, does it?
  • What should I major in?
  • How do I apply to schools that do not use OTCAS?
  • How much money will I make as an Occupational Therapist?
  • What is the job market like for Occupational Therapists?

How can I apply?

OT schools use individual applications for each school. There is not a central application service. Check the individual school's website for information on how to apply to their school.

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

What clubs can I join?

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Physician Assistant

How Can I be Competitive for Physician Assistant School?

Admission to Physician Assistant (PA) programs is a highly competitive process. It is vitally important that Pre-Physician Assistant students prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during their undergraduate years.

Applicants are evaluated on a holistic level, with consideration on GPA, GRE scores, PA shadowing, patient contact (paid), and volunteer, leadership and research experiences.

Work closely with your Pre-Health counselor who can assist you with:

  • Prerequisite academic planning
  • Extra-curricular considerations (i.e. shadowing, healthcare experience, volunteering, etc.)
  • CASPA and the application process
  • GRE planning
  • Writing personal statements
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Mock interviews

Choosing the right PA school for you takes significant research. Plan to apply to at least 5-6 schools, more if you do not feel you are as competitive as you would like to be.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Physician Assistant school

  • Admissions criteria
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Quality and reputation
  • Mission, philosophy, values
  • Curriculum and program delivery
  • Internship/externships
  • Specialties
  • Research interests
  • Career resources and job placement
  • Licensure test scores
  • Facilities
  • Faculty

Information on Physician Assistant Programs

Choosing a Physician Assistant School

Physician Assistant programs vary in their admissions requirements, program delivery, missions, and quality. It is important to research PA schools to determine which schools fit your interests and needs most. Most students apply to an average of 5-6 Physician Assistant programs.

Physician Assistant Programs

Physician Assistant Application (CASPA)

Approximately 80%+ of all Physician Assistant programs use the centralized application service for Physician Assistant programs (CASPA). CASPA allows you to apply to several schools without filling out multiple applications. CASPA usually opens in mid-April and runs for nearly one year per admissions cycle.

Plan to apply to PA school as soon as pre-requisites are completed (or almost completed). Ideally, students will apply to PA programs approximately one year prior to graduation.

CASPA usually opens in mid-April and applicants will typically apply one year prior to admission. The CASPA application is subject to small changes each year, but generally you should plan to include:

  • Letters of recommendation (at least 3)
  • Official transcripts from every college/university attended
  • Personal statement—approximately 5000 characters
  • Summaries of extra-curricular experiences

Prerequisite Courses

Note: The prerequisites listed here are a general guideline of common courses required by PA programs. It is your responsibility to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to. If you have questions, always contact each individual program.

Note: Physician Assistant programs determine their own individual requirements. It is important for you to research the specific requirements for each school you are interested in applying to.
Your Pre-Health counselor will help you plan your pre-requisite courses, ensuring a doable sequence and proper timeline. It is recommended you prioritize the registration of prerequisite courses over major and general education requirements as it is ideal to apply to PA school one year prior to graduation.

Required by most PA programs with a grade of C or better (generally avoid online pre-req. options):

  • College Biology I with lab: BIOL 1610/1615 (recommended)
  • Human Anatomy: ZOOL 2320/2325
  • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2420/2425
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Organic Chemistry I with lab: CHEM 2310/2315
  • General Psychology: PSY 1010
  • College Algebra: MATH 1050
  • Principles of Statistics: MATH 2040 or Stats for Behavioral Science: BESC 3010

In addition, some programs require the following courses:

  • Organic Chemistry II with lab: CHEM 2320/2325
  • Biochemistry: BIOL 3600
  • Microbiology for Health Professions: MICR 2060/2065
  • Medical Terminology I: HLTH 1300
  • Abnormal Psychology: PSY 3400
  • Developmental Psychology (Child, Adolescent, Adult, Human)

GPA

NOTE : All grades received for college credit will likely be calculated into your GPA, even if you have retaken courses. If you have taken any courses at a different school or if you have retaken courses, your UVU GPA will not likely reflect the accurate GPA calculation for PA schools.

GPA is a vital part of your application to PA programs. PA programs will consider your science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA.

Average accepted GPA: 3.5-3.6

Minimum GPA considered: 3.2

You can calculate your science GPA by downloading the GPA calculator through the following link. Although the calculator is specific to MD medical schools, it is still a useful tool for other health professions programs. Most programs will calculate your GPA in a similar way - science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation. 

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • DO medical schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM and will only use the most recent grade if a course has been retaken.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

GRE

The GRE revised General Test is a standardized examination required by many PA programs as part of your application. Research your schools of interest to determine if you need to take the GRE.

The GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011 and is administered via a computer-based format on a year-round, first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the GRE early and take it at least 6 weeks prior to your earliest application deadline.

The GRE revised General Test measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Studying for the GRE

Note:UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Free Study Materials:

Extracurricular Activities

Note: It is extremely challenging to be a competitive applicant to PA school without paid clinical healthcare experience.

Consider planning out your extra-curricular activities by semester, just like your pre-requisite courses. Starting early helps avoid the stress associated with cramming everything into the last few semesters prior to the application.

Minimum Recommended Extra-curricular Activities

  • Volunteer Service: 50 hours during each of your Pre-PA years including the year of application
  • Leadership: 3 different leadership positions
  • Physician Assistant Shadowing: 24 hours
  • Medical Experience: 1000 hours to 3 years of paid experience

Extra-curricular activities help Physician Assistant programs evaluate your potential as a clinician and professional. They can help you stand out as an applicant and demonstrate your motivation for pursuing a career in healthcare.

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into pharmaceutical school. GPA and GRE scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing a pharmaceutical degree and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for pharmaceutical school is NOT about checking off boxes. pharmaceutical schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to physician assistant programs is 50 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to physician assistant programs are 50 hours of shadowing/experience with at least 2 different P.A.'s.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research gives you a competitive edge for physician assistant school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The  recommendations for physician assistant healthcare experience is 1,000-10,000 hours of paid, direct patient contact.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

Suggested Guidelines

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

  1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

How to Have Your Letters Submitted

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University ñ MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

  • What if I my grades are poor from some of my earlier semesters? Can I still go to PA school?
  • What if I do not have any paid clinical healthcare experience?
  • What kinds of jobs count as clinical healthcare experience?
  • I have done a lot of volunteer and leadership with my church, but that doesn't count, does it?
  • What should I major in?
  • How do I apply to schools that do not use CASPA?
  • How much money will I make as a PA?
  • What is the job market like for Physician Assistants?

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

Many PA schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools. For schools that do not use the central application, check the individual school's website for information on how to apply to their school.

Click here to view the Application Workshop presentation.


What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Chiropractic

What Is It?

Chiropractic is an alternative method of medical practice that focuses on the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors emphasis the bodies natural healing properties and take a holistic approach in their care of patients. The patients overall health and lifestyle are considered during diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors use hands on methods to treat patients. These methods include spinal adjustment and soft tissue therapy.

Prerequisite Courses

Extracurricular Activities

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters.

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research—you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research gives you a competitive advantage for chiropractic school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
      1. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
        1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
      2. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
        1. Use that reference to approach the referral
        2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

REQUESTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • DO NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

    1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
    2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
    3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR LETTERS SUBMITTED

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University – MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

How can I find out what my science GPA is?

You can calculate your science GPA by downloading the GPA calculator through the following link. Although the calculator is specific to MD medical schools, it is still a useful tool for other health professions programs. Most programs will calculate your GPA in a similar way - science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation.

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • DO medical schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM and will only use the most recent grade if a course has been retaken.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

What if I did not do well in some of my early semesters? Can I still go to medical school?

Yes, you may still be able to go because your admission will be based on your cumulative GPA as well as the trend of grades.


Do I have to transfer to a different university if I want to go to medical school?

Yes, once accepted you will have to transfer to a medical school. UVU offers Bachelor programs in preparation for Medical Professions.


Why should I do premed at UVU?

You should consider doing pre-med at UVU because we offer: an accredited program that can transfer to any school, devoted counselors committed to help you succeed, clubs, workshops, and orientations that provide you with additional tools needed upon entering the medical field.


What is the difference between MD and DO schools?

The traditional medical degree, the MD, requires training in allopathic medicine. Osteopathic medical schools award the DO degree, which is the holistic perspective on practice of medicine based on a belief in treating the "whole patient" (mind-body-spirit) and the primacy of the musculoskeletal system in human health and the utility of osteopathic manipulative treatment.


How do I apply?

Chiropractic schools use individual applications for each school. There is not a central application service. Check the individual school's websites for information on how to apply to their school.


Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

Graduate Test: the GRE

The GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011 and is administered via a computer-based format on a year-round, first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the GRE early and take it at least 6 weeks prior to your earliest application deadline.

The GRE revised General Test measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Studying for the GRE

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Free Study Materials:

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement – Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in – Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation – What others see in you
  • Interviews – Confirm who you are

     Pre-Optometry

What is it?

The American Optometric Association defines Doctor of Optometry as the primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye. Doctors of Optometry prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and perform certain surgical procedures. Although not as competitive as medical school, optometry is a growing field. It is important that students prepare themselves well for application to optometry schools during the undergraduate years.

Prerequisite Courses

NOTE: Optometry schools determine their own individual requirements. The courses listed below are a general guide. Refer to www.opted.org and the individual school's website to determine the specific requirements for that institution.

Required by most optometry schools with a grade of C or better:

    • Intro to Writing: ENGL 1010
    • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2010 or 2020
    • General Psychology: PSY 1010
    • College Biology I and II with labs: BIOL 1610/1615 and 1620/1625
    • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
    • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 2310/2315 and 2320/2325
    • College Physics I and II with labs: PHYS 2010/2015 and 2020/2025
    • Microbiology for Health Professions: MICRO 2060
    • Biochemistry: BIOL 3600
    • Principles of Statistics: MATH 2040
    • Calculus I: MATH 1210
    • Bachelor's Degree or Additional Humanities and Social Science Courses

Strongly recommended or required by some optometry schools:

    • Human Physiology: ZOOL 2420
    • Human Anatomy: ZOOL 2320

GPA

GPA is a vital part of your application to optometry school. Optometry schools will consider your science, non-science and cumulative GPAs as well as the trend of grades. All grades received for college credit will be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA will not be an accurate calculation for optometry schools.

GUIDELINES:

    • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
    • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
    • DO medical schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM and will only use the most recent grade if a course has been retaken.
    • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
    • Physics courses include ASTR.
    • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
    • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

The Optometry Admissions Test is a standardized examination required as part of your application to optometry school. It is a very challenging exam that requires extensive preparation in the form of review and practice. The OAT is administered by ASCO with specific information on the exam available at www.ada.org/oat. It is recommended that students take the exam in the spring or summer of the year of application so scores can be available for early application to optometry school.

The OAT consists of four sections:

      • Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry)
      • Reading Comprehension
      • Physics
      • Quantitative Reasoning (algebra, numerical calculations, conversions, probability and statistics, geometry, trigonometry, and applied math word problems)

Your scores will receive a scaled (numerical) score and a percentile score for each of the individual sections. The scaled scores for the multiple-choice subtests range from 200 to 400. 300 is considered an average score, but 320 is considered a competitive score.

Listed below are the current accepted GPAs and OAT scores.

      • Average accepted overall GPA: 3.38
      • Average accepted Total Science OAT: 336
      • Average accepted Academic Average OAT: 332


You should begin studying for the OAT at least 6 months prior to taking the test. Consider your study time to be equivalent to the time commitment of a 3-4 credit hour class. Some students choose to study on their own or with other students who are also preparing to take the exam. For students who choose to study on their own, there are various books designed to help guide you through the preparation process. Books have been published by Kaplan and Princeton Review to name a few. These books can be purchased online or at various bookstores.
Other students choose to take a prep course. Kaplan, a private company, offers an OAT prep course in Utah County. These courses may be as much as $1400 or more. Visit the company's website listed below and talk to fellow classmates before choosing a prep course.

Extracurricular Activities

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into optometry school. GPA and OAT scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing optometry and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for optometry school is NOT about checking off boxes. Optometry schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

The activities you should be involved in and the recommended hours are listed below:

      • Volunteer Service: 50 hours during each of the pre-optometry years including the year of application. To be a strong applicant for optometry school you must show dedication to serving the community. Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be medically related. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences.
      • Leadership: 3 different leadership positions during the pre-optometry years. These should be experiences that have lasted at least 3 months or more. This includes experiences as tutors, mentors, coaches, teachers or leaders in campus clubs and organizations as well as employment and church leadership.
      • Research: Research gives you a competitive advantage for optometry programs.
      • Optometrist Shadowing: 2 different optometrists in different settings for a total of 40 hours or more. Students should gain exposure to the optometry field and have a clear understanding of what life as an optometrist entails. Shadowing is an opportunity to observe optometrists as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to optometry programs are 50 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to optometry programs are 40 hours of experience with at least 2 different settings.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research—you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research gives you a competitive advantage for optometry.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for pre-optometry healthcare experience is 40 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.
For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

REQUESTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Request Form if you are Premed or Pre-Dental (Click here to print the Request Form)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application. Follow the steps below to request your letters:
  • Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  • Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  • If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR LETTERS SUBMITTED

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University – MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

      • Location
      • Board Scores and Pass Rates
      • Cost
      • Curriculum
      • Mission Statement
      • Rotation Options
      • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

New for the 2010 application cycle, optometry schools will begin using a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools.


What club can I join?

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement – Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in – Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation – What others see in you
  • Interviews – Confirm who you are

     Pre-Podiatry

What is it?

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) strive to improve the overall health of their patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle. They treat a variety of conditions and employ innovative treatments to improve the well-being of their patients.* Although not as competitive as medical school, it is still important that students prepare themselves well for application to podiatry schools during the undergraduate years.

Prerequisite Courses

NOTE: Podiatry schools determine their own individual requirements. The courses listed below are a general guide. Refer to the www.aacpm.org and the individual school's website to determine the specific requirements for that institution.

Required by all podiatry schools with a grade of C or better:

  • Intro to Writing: ENGL 1010
  • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2010 or 2020
  • College Biology I and II with labs: BIOL 1610/1615 and 1620/1625
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 2310/2315 and 2320/2325
  • College Physics I and II with labs: PHYS 2010/2015 and 2020/2025

GPA

GPA is an important part of your application to podiatry school. Podiatry schools will consider your science, non-science and cumulative GPAs as well as the trend of grades. All grades received for college credit will be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA will not be an accurate calculation for podiatry schools. 

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • DO medical schools do not include Math courses in the BCPM and will only use the most recent grade if a course has been retaken.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

Medical College Admisisons Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardized examination required as part of your application to medical school. It is a very challenging exam that requires extensive preparation in the form of review and practice. Your preparation for the MCAT will actually begin with the first day of your first premed prerequisite course. Additional information about the MCAT can be obtained at: www.aamc.org/mcat
The current MCAT will be administered through January 2015 and consists of the following 4 sections:

  1. Physical Sciences (General Chemistry and Physics)
  2. Biological Sciences (Biology and Organic Chemistry)
  3. Verbal Reasoning
  4. Trial Section

The first 3 sections (PS, BS, and VR) are scored from 1 through 15. The average score for accepted students is a 10 in each section. The minimum score you should have in order to be considered by most medical schools is a 7 in each section.

The Trial Section consists of 32 new questions being tested for the new MCAT in either: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics or in psychology, sociology and biology. If you volunteer to participate, you will receive the following if you put forth a good-faith effort: $30 Amazon.com Gift Card Claim Code (e-mailed to you within 3-4 weeks) and feedback on your performance that will allow you to compare yourself to others who participated in the Trial Section. For more information, visit www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/304964/trial-section.html.

After January 2015, only the new MCAT (MCAT2015) exam will be administered. The MCAT2015 exam will consist of the following 4 sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

More information about MCAT 2015 can be found at www.aamc.org/mcat2015

It is recommended that you take the exam in the spring of the year of application so scores can be available for early application to medical school.

You should begin studying for the MCAT at least 6 months prior to taking the test. Consider your study time to be equivalent to the time commitment of a 3-4 credit hour class. Some students choose to study on their own or with other students who are also preparing to take the exam. For students who choose to study on their own, there are various books designed to help guide you through the preparation process. Exam Krackers is just one series that has been recommended by UVU students. There are also books published by Kaplan and Princeton Review to name a few. These books can be purchased online or at various bookstores. You can also purchase previously administered tests to use as practice tools. Go to the MCAT website for additional information on purchasing practice exams.

Other students choose to take a prep course. There are several private companies that offer MCAT prep courses, each with their own individual promises. These courses may range in price from $800-$2000. UVU does not recommend one company over another. Visit the companies' websites listed below and talk to fellow classmates before choosing a prep course.

Extracurricular Activities

It is important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into podiatry school. GPA and MCAT scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing podiatry and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for podiatry school is NOT about checking off boxes. Podiatry schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer oppurtunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to podiatry programs are 50 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to podiatry programs are 24 hours of experience with at least 2 different podiatrists.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research—you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research is VERY STRONGLY recommended for podiatry.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for podiatry healthcare experience is 50 hours of patient contact.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

REQUESTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors.

    1. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
    2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
    3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR LETTERS SUBMITTED

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University – MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. The average student applies to most of the 9 schools.Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

Podiatry schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools.


What clubs can I join?

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently.
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

     Pre-Veterinary

What is it?

Admission to veterinary school is a highly competitive process. Approximately half or more of the students who apply to veterinary school each year do not get accepted. There are simply more applicants than there are seats available. Because of this, it is vitally important that students who want to pursue a vet degree thoroughly prepare themselves to be competitive applicants during the pre-veterinary years.

Prerequisite Courses

NOTE: Vet schools determine their own individual requirements. The courses listed below are a general guide. Refer to the Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) book, www.aavmc.org and the individual school's website to determine the specific requirements for that institution.

Required by most vet schools with a grade of C or better:

  • Intro to Writing: ENGL 1010
  • Intermediate Writing: ENGL 2010 or 2020
  • College Biology I and II with labs: BIOL 1610/1615 and 1620/1625
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 1210/1215 and 1220/1225
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs: CHEM 2310/2315 and 2320/2325
  • College Physics I and II with labs: PHYS 2010/2015 and 2020/2025
  • Biochemistry: BIOL 3600
  • Molecular Genetics: BIOL 3500
  • Microbiology for Health Professions: MICRO 2060
  • Principles of Statistics or Stats for Behavioral Sciences: MATH 2040 or PSY 3010

In addition, some schools require the following courses:

  • Public Speaking: COMM 1020
  • Calculus I: MATH 1210
  • Animal Nutrition: Not offered at UVU. Can be taken as an online or correspondence course.
  • Upper Division Science/Biology Courses
  • Social Science/Humanities Electives

GPA

GPA is a vital part of your application to vet school. The average GPA for accepted applicants is about a 3.57. All grades received for college credit may be calculated into your GPA even if you have retaken the class. If you have taken any classes at a different school or if you have retaken classes, your UVU GPA may not be an accurate calculation for veterinary schools.

You can calculate your science GPA by downloading the GPA calculator through the following link. Although the calculator is specific to MD medical schools, it is still a useful tool for other health professions programs. Most programs will calculate your GPA in a similar way - science GPA, non-science GPA and cumulative GPA. Be sure to follow the guidelines below for the most accurate calculation. 

GUIDELINES:

  • Include every course you have taken for college credit even if you have retaken the course.
  • Include transfer credit from other schools you have attended.
  • Biology courses include BIOL, MICRO, BOT and ZOOL.
  • Physics courses include ASTR.
  • Exercise Science courses that are science based (Kinesiology, Biomechanics, etc.) should be calculated with the science GPA.
  • Pass/Fail courses are not included in the GPA.

GRE

The GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011 and is administered via a computer-based format on a year-round, first-come, first-served basis. Plan to register for the GRE early and take it at least 6 weeks prior to your earliest application deadline.

The GRE revised General Test measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

About the GRE
Register for the GRE

Studying for the GRE

Note: UVU does not endorse or recommend specific GRE preparation courses or materials. Research potential study methods and determine which ones fit your needs most appropriately. The GRE is a challenging exam that merits careful preparation. Plan to study for the GRE for several weeks in the way that fits your budget, schedule, and learning style best.

Free Study Materials:

Extracurricular Activities

It is extremely important to be involved in activities outside of the classroom in order to be competitive for admission into vet school. GPA and GRE scores are important, but they do not make you unique. Extracurricular activities are a chance for you to set yourself apart and display your motivation for pursuing a vet degree and dedication to serving the community. Preparing to apply for vet school is NOT about checking off boxes. Vet schools are not going to care if you have done the experiences if you have not learned from them. Admissions committees want to know that you are willing and able to learn in any circumstance and/or environment.

Volunteering

What is it?

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but there are many benefits to volunteering including skill development, meeting others, having fun, and a variety of other reasons. Volunteerism is the act of selflessly giving of yourself without the expectation of compensation. Compensation includes payment, stipends, or grades for a class.

Why should I do it?

To be a strong applicant for health professions programs you should demonstrate dedication to serving the community. The volunteer opportunities you choose can also be an excellent way to set yourself apart by showing health professions programs what is meaningful to you. The activities you choose to be involved and the reasons why can make you unique. Consider which opportunities will be the best reflection of who you are.

Volunteer service can be done with any group or organization and does not have to be healthcare related, but it can be helpful to look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone and show a diversity of experience. Being involved in 2-3 service opportunities will benefit you more than having several brief experiences. The number of hours each year we typically see from students who get accepted to veterinary programs are 45-60 hours.

What are the expectations?

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should plan to be involved in volunteer service throughout each academic year (August-July). Most students are already busy taking a full-time schedule and oftentimes working, but it is important to make volunteering a priority. Fit it into your schedule any way it works best. Perhaps you will volunteer for one hour a week. Maybe it will better in your schedule to volunteer four hours on a Saturday once a month. You decide what works best for you.

It is important that you find something you can be dedicated to and passionate about. You will find the experience that much more rewarding. And remember, you are not just checking off boxes to get into a health professions school. You are making a difference in your community and learning valuable lessons about yourself and the world around you.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find the volunteer experiences that are the best fit for you. One of the first places you can start looking is UVU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. This office maintains information on volunteer needs in the community in many different areas. There is a very good chance you will find something there that interests you. Other good resources include United Way and the website U Serve Utah maintained by the state.

Shadowing Program

What is it?

Shadowing provides an opportunity for you to gain exposure to the healthcare field you are interested in and develop a clear understanding of what life in that profession entails. It is a chance to observe a professional as they go through a routine day seeing patients, completing paperwork, talking with insurance companies, etc. Because shadowing is meant to be just observational, it does not fulfill other requirements to gain hands-on experience interacting with patients. Go to the Healthcare Experiences link for information about the hands-on experience expected by health professions programs.

Why should I do it?

Professional schools want to know you have had enough experience with professionals in the field to know that it is something you really want to do and that you have a good understanding of what your life will be like. In addition, it is a great opportunity to ask questions and develop rapport with professionals. You will likely need at least one letter of recommendation from someone in the field you have chosen. You will get a better letter if you spend some time getting to know the people you shadow.

What are the expectations?

You are expected to demonstrate dependability and professionalism, while discovering skills that will benefit you as a healthcare professional. Some programs look for separate shadowing and patient contact experience, while others will consider them combined. Plan to shadow each professional for a minimum of 9-12 hours. The number of overall shadowing hours we typically see from students who get accepted to veterinary programs are 1000-2000 hours of shadowing/experience.

How do I do it?

It is up to you to find shadowing experiences that will work best for you. One place to start is by talking to your own healthcare providers. Are they willing to have you shadow? Do they know someone who may be willing to have you shadow them? A second place to start is by asking people you know if they know of anyone you can contact. Cold calling offices is one of the least effective ways to find shadowing opportunities. Start by asking people you know before taking this route.


Research

What is it?

Research is more than just reviewing what others have already done and summarizing it in a long research paper for class. Research revolves around a specific hypothesis and follows the scientific method. Most research is experiment, survey, or observationally based. Research does not have to be limited to healthcare or science fields and instead, may cover diverse subject matters. 

Examples of research:

  • Working in a genetics lab to determine how gene therapy influences deafness in mice
  • Collecting sea snails and observing how quickly they reproduce and in what conditions
  • Conducting interviews with women about how religion influences their self-efficacy
  • Experimenting with how fire-fighters get dressed to increase response rates in emergencies
  • Surveying teens about their views of sexuality

Why should I do it?

Many health professions programs will require you to assist in research, understand how to interpret research, or even run your own research projects. Moreover, you will likely have opportunities to participate in research as a way of receiving financial compensation or to improve your attractiveness to residency programs. Completing research in your undergraduate coursework shows your potential to be successful in graduate level research—you are proving that your learning curve will not be too steep because you have done this before.

Research is essential for veterinary school.

What are the expectations?

Many students wait to start working on research until their sophomore or junior year because research often requires enough coursework to provide a strong academic background and an introduction to research principles. Regardless, research should typically be completed prior to the application in order to qualify for credit on the application. Research may be in any subject, as long as it is hypothesis-based.

  • Research must be hypothesis-based
  • Research must be supervised or mentored by someone familiar with research processes
  • Research must follow scientific processes and is not simply reading about research that is already completed
  • Your hypothesis may be your own or you may assist in another person's research
  • Research is typically completed outside of class and not as part of your major
  • Plan on at least 50 hours to be competitive

How do I do it?

There are a few different ways to participate in research.

  1. Create your own project
    1. Develop a hypothesis for a subject of your choice
    2. Approach a professional who knows how to conduct research and ask for his or her help as a mentor
    3. Work with the professional to complete the research following sound scientific principles
  2. Help a professor with his or her own project
    1. Approach a professor to see if he or she is participating in research
    2. If YES, ask if you might be able to participate/assist.
      1. Follow the professor's expectations to complete the research
    3. If NO, ask if he or she knows 2-3 people that might be able to help
      1. Use that reference to approach the referral
      2. Repeat steps until you find a professor who will accept your assistance
  3. Find a professional (healthcare professionals, research organizations, other universities, etc.) to help with an existing project
    1. Approach a professional to see if they might accept your assistance OR
    2. Apply for a research position/internship like you would apply for a job
    3. Follow the professional's expectations to complete the research

Healthcare Experience

What is it?

Healthcare experience outside of shadowing usually includes volunteering or finding employment in a healthcare setting, usually with direct patient contact (i.e. offering clinical care and not just working in a healthcare environment). Many students will consider getting a basic certification or may find opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

Examples of healthcare experience:

  • Volunteering with hospice
  • Working full-time as a paramedic
  • Taking a C.N.A. certification course and finding a position at a local hospital
  • Receiving on-the-job training to work as a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Tech
  • Getting an internship with the 30-Day Heart Challenge

Why should I do it?

Health professions programs will have greater confidence in your ability to interact positively with patients and withstand the rigor of a career in healthcare if they know you have already been part of the industry. As you work in healthcare, you will develop concrete examples of yourself showing compassion to patients, working with a team of healthcare providers, and solving problems. These experiences will likely assist you in your application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Additionally, many health professions programs actually REQUIRE healthcare experience or patient contact.

What are the expectations?

Research the requirements for your health professions program to ensure you are meeting their expectations for healthcare experience. Some programs will specify the hours required and may require the experience to be paid. The recommendation for veterinary healthcare experience is 1000-2000 hours shadowing/experience with a licensed vet.

How do I do it?

How you choose to get healthcare experience will depend on the qualifications of the jobs or volunteer opportunities you are seeking. Many positions in healthcare require a certification (e.g. C.N.A., medical assistant, paramedic) while others are more flexible and require on-the-job training. Sometimes approaching organizations directly is more effective than simply responding to job ads online. Many students will also offer to volunteer for free, which sometimes leads to paid employment.

For assistance looking for and applying to healthcare jobs, contact the UVU Career Development Center.


Writing a Personal Statement

Many students underestimate the power of a personal statement. It should not be written quickly or without planning. Your personal statement can determine whether you will be accepted into the program you want or not. It is the greatest tool an admissions committee has to get to know you, so it should be an accurate depiction of yourself. Remember, it's about what you learned, not what you did! Listed below are some do's and don'ts of personal statements.

  • DO talk about your motivation for choosing the career that you have (medicine, dental, pharmacy, PT, etc.).
  • DO make it interesting and compelling.
  • DO ask some of your friends and family to read it and ask them what kind of person they would think you are if they had never met you.
  • DO be honest and sincere.
  • DO NOT sound arrogant. Avoid using 'I' unless you are about to explain something you learned from a particular experience.
  • DO NOT describe the characteristics of a good doctor, dentist, pharmacist, etc. and how you have those same characteristics.
  • DO NOT repeat information that can be found elsewhere on your application unless you are adding additional details.
  • DO NOT list your experiences. This is not a resume. DO NOT write it like it is one. Choose one, two or three experiences and discuss them in detail.

Consider the following information from the NAAHP's publication Write for Success: Preparing a Successful Professional School Application:

"Answering some of the following questions my reveal some insights that you can share in your personal statement. As you are writing, you may find yourself feeling the urge to write about a specific event. Follow that urge. You may come up with something that will eventually make it into your personal statement.

  1. Who are the most influential people in your life?
  2. What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Looking back, what can you recall having changed you? How were you affected?
  3. Do feel a passion for medicine [dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.]? What is the source of that passion?

If you have a strong reaction to something you are writing about, it means the situation is important to you. Take a moment to think about how your reaction reflects who you are."

Click here for some examples of personal statements. If you would like help with your personal statement, contact the Pre-Health Office at 801-863-6484 to schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Counselor.


Letters of Recommendation

REQUESTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Provide the following information to each letter writer:

  • Letter of intent (Click here to see example)
  • Personal statement (Do not put off requesting letters if you do not have a rough draft yet. This is optional, but helpful.)
  • Resume or CV
  • Picture
  • Where to send it (Pre-addressed envelope if they are off-campus or instructions on how to submit electronically)

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

  • Request letters from professors who have taught you in a classroom setting. Science professors are those who have taught you in the lecture portion of a Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or Physics course. No lab instructors.
  • Supervisors should be able to address your ability to work and/or serve others, demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are comfortable in a healthcare environment, and discuss your work ethic.
  • It is important for you to build a rapport with the people you shadow, work, or volunteer with as preparation to requesting a letter of recommendation. Be on time, work hard, learn as much as you can and, most importantly, be yourself. Letters of recommendation are one of the ways admissions committees get to know you. That is only possible if the letter writer knows you.
  • If you do not think someone will write you a strong letter of recommendation, DO NOT ASK THEM FOR ONE. A bad letter can kill your application even if the rest are stellar.
  • Do NOT request letters of recommendation from family members. Their letters are highly biased and may not be viewed as an accurate description of your character.
  • Letters of recommendation are expected to be confidential and should not be viewed by the student. You will be asked to waive your right to view the letters, but you also have the right to deny the waiver. If you choose to deny the waiver, you are required to inform all of your letter writers that you will have access to their letters.
  • Most other health professions programs will want to see 3-4 letters. 1-2 of these letters should be from science professors. You will also need 1-2 letters from healthcare professionals that you have shadowed or worked with. Check with the individual schools to determine which letters you need.
  • Many of the health professions schools you will be applying to use a Central Application Service (CAS) to process your application. Letters of recommendation are part of this application.

Follow the steps below to request your letters:

  1. Request letters from the appropriate professors and supervisors. You should provide your letter writers with your resume, personal statement and a letter of intent.
  2. Where applicable, inform the letter writer that they will receive an electronic request from the CAS to submit an evaluation for you.
  3. If the letters are not part of a CAS, provide the letter writer with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for the schools you need the letter sent to.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR LETTERS SUBMITTED

There are 3 possible ways to have your letters of recommendation submitted:

  1. Have your letter writers mail their signed Letter of Recommendation to the address listed below. This is best for letter writers who may not be computer savvy. The Pre-Health Office will create an electronic version of the letter and post it to your veCollect account once the hard copy is received.

    Pre-Health Professions
    Utah Valley University – MS 101
    800 West University Parkway
    Orem, UT 84058

  2. The letter writer may submit an electronic PDF or Word document that includes their signature and letterhead to veCollect. This may be a scanned PDF copy or a Word document that has the signature and letterhead added electronically. If your letter writer prefers this method, you will need to send them the email request from veCollect under the My Evaluators section.
  3. As a last result, you can pick the letter up and deliver it to the UVU Pre-Health Office. In this case, the letter must be in a sealed envelope with the letter writer's signature over the seal to ensure confidentiality.

FAQ

Where can I apply?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which schools to apply to. Listed below are some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Board Scores and Pass Rates
  • Cost
  • Curriculum
  • Mission Statement
  • Rotation Options
  • Prerequisite Requirements

How can I apply?

Vet schools use a central application service where students submit transcripts, list activities/experiences, complete the personal statement and submit letters of recommendation that are then compiled and sent to the individual schools.


What clubs can I join?

What's Your Brand?

This year, we challenge you to decide what your personal brand is. Own it.

Each of these brands imply an image. Of quality. Of style. Of being the best. Likewise, we all have our own personal image, our own brand. We can either haphazardly make choices that allow others to define our brand for us, or we can consciously define who we are, what we stand for.

So we ask the question, Who are you?
What qualities do you want others to associate with your name?

Good Examples

  • Take control of the way you want others to view you by living consistently
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter because it is helping animals.
  • Making sure that you have done your required researching.
  • Choose a profession that you are interested in.

Bad Examples

  • Volunteering at the local animal shelter merely because it is convenient.
  • The inquisitive researcher might seem inconsistent if she is a coordinator for the Super Spring Break Bash, but has limited research experience
  • The friendly future pediatrician may not seem genuinely interested in children if he only works in geriatrics

Avoid the random. Proactively plan who you are and who you want to be.

Remember that applying to professional school comes down to marketing YOU. Find and define your brand so you are memorable. Consistency is key. Here are a few avenues in the application process to consider using effective personal branding:

  • Personal statement: Tell them who you are
  • Extra-curricular activities you choose to participate in: Show them who you are
  • Letters of recommendation: What others see in you
  • Interviews: Confirm who you are

Schedule an Appointment

Office Closures:

  • Labor Day................September 1
  • Thanksgiving..........November 27 & 28
  • Christmas...............December 25 & 26

Please be aware of the following policies:

  • Walk-in appointments are NOT available.
  • If you are more than 10 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you may be asked to reschedule.
  • 2 No Shows in one semester, you may be asked to wait until the following semester to schedule another appointment.

 

schedule appointment


Get connected... Stay connected!

Like us on Facebook Facebook Follow us on Twitter Twitter